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Beef Recalled After 2 Local Children Infected With E. Coli

Posted October 10, 2007

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— North Carolina public health officials are asking residents to make sure they don’t have any contaminated beef after two children were infected with E. coli.

The state Division of Public Health's laboratory has confirmed that the children were infected with E. coli O15:H7 bacterium that had the same DNA fingerprint as E. coli infections that have been linked to ground-beef patties manufactured by Cargill Meat Solutions Corp. and sold through Sam's Club.

"You go to your freezer right now and look, and if you've got ground beef patties in there, and if you remember buying some from Sam's Club – Sam's Club anywhere in the state – check and make sure they are not part of this recall," Debbie Crane, with the state Department of Health and Human Services, said. "If they are part of the recall, throw them away."

The two children, a 10-year-old from Durham County and a 14-year-old from Orange County, attended a cookout on Sept. 15.

Food served at the cookout included grilled hamburgers. The children experienced bloody diarrhea and abdominal cramps beginning on Sept. 18, officials said.

Neither child developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), which is a serious complication that can result from E. coli 0157:H7 infection. Both children have recovered. No other cases of E .coli infection associated with the picnic have been diagnosed.

“If you have frozen ground beef patties, check to see if they are part of the recall. If they are, then throw them away or return them to the store,” said State Epidemiologist Dr. Jeff Engel. “Anytime you cook hamburger, always make sure to cook it until it is no longer pink and the juice runs clear.”

Although no ground beef from the cookout was available for testing, people who bought the meat said they had purchased it from the Durham Sam’s Club on Sept. 14.

The Orange County Health Department investigated the incident. Public health officials noted that the onset of symptoms occurs within two to 10 days after E. coli infection, with most cases showing up within three to five days. No new cases are expected as a result of the ground beef consumed at the cookout.

In addition to checking to see whether consumers have the contaminated product, public health officials said consumers should take precautions to avoid contaminating other foods with any E. coli bacteria that may be present in the meat by:

  • Using soap or dishwashing liquid to wash hands, utensils and cutting boards after they have been in contact with raw meat before they touch other food
     
  • Putting cooked meat on a clean platter, rather than on the one that was used to hold raw meat

On Oct. 6, Cargill recalled 844,812 pounds of frozen ground beef patties after an investigation by Minnesota authorities. The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) found that four illness were caused by E. coli O157:H7 with the same DNA fingerprint.

All of those infected had eaten ground beef patties purchased at Sam’s Club stores in the Twin Cities metro area. The brand name of the implicated frozen ground beef patties was “American Chef’s Selection Angus Beef Patties.”

Sam’s Club has pulled American Chef’s Selection Angus Frozen Ground Beef Patties from all of their stores.

The products subject to the recall were produced on Aug. 9, 10, 15, 16 and 17, 2007, and were distributed nationwide. Each package bears the establishment number “Est. 924A” inside the USDA mark of inspection.

The products include:

Products distributed via retail and subject to recall are:

  • 6-pound boxes of “American Chef's Selection Angus Beef Patties 18-1/3 Pound Patties.” Each package bears a case code of “7703100” and various package codes of Best If Used By dates of “02/05/08,” “02/06/08,” “02/12/08,” and “02/13/08.”

Products distributed to restaurants and institutions and subject to recall include:

  • 20-pound boxes of “Grille Works Seasoned Sirloin Steak Beef Patties.” Each package bears a case code of “7700296” and a package code “packed/chilled by 08/15/07.”
     
  • 20-pound boxes of “TNT™ Thick ‘n Tender Beef Patties with Seasoning.” Each package bears a case code of “7703003” and a package code “packed/chilled by 08/15/07.”
     
  • 20-pound boxes of “TNT Thick ‘n Tender Beef Patties with Seasoning.” Each package bears a case code of “7703008” and a package code “packed/chilled by 08/15/07.”
     
  • 10-pound boxes of “TNT Thick ‘n Tender Beef Patties with Seasoning.” Each package bears a case code of “7703092” and a package code “packed/chilled by 08/15/07.”
     
  • 20-pound boxes of “TNT Thick ‘n Tender Black Angus Beef Patties with Seasoning.” Each package bears a case code of “7703132” and a package code “packed/chilled by 08/15/07.”
     
  • 20-pound boxes of “TNT Thick ‘n Tender Black Angus Beef Patties with Seasoning.” Each package bears a case code of “7703133” and a package code “packed/chilled by 08/15/07.”
     
  • 10-pound boxes of “TNT Thick ‘n Tender Black Angus Beef Patties with Seasoning.” Each package bears a case code of “7703139” and a package code “packed/chilled by 08/15/07.”
     
  • 20-pound boxes of “TNT Thick ‘n Tender Black Angus Ground Beef Patties.” Each package bears a case code of “7700922” and a package code “packed/chilled by 08/15/07.”
     
  • 32.4-pound boxes of “100% Black Angus Ground Beef Patties.” Each package bears a case code of “7700932” and a package code “packed/chilled by 08/15/07.”
     
  • 36.0-pound boxes of “100% Black Angus Ground Beef Patties.” Each package bears a case code of “7700983” and a package code “packed/chilled by 08/15/07.”

Symptoms of E. coli O157:H7 illness include stomach cramps, which can be severe, and diarrhea. Diarrhea begins as loose, watery stools, with stools often turning bloody within 1-3 days.E. coli O157:H7 disease sometimes leads to HUS, which can include kidney failure.

People typically become ill two to five days after eating contaminated food. E. coli infection should not be treated with antibiotics, which can cause additional complications. People who have developed those symptoms after consuming this product should contact their physician.

Consumers with questions about the recall should contact the company’s food safety line at 866-567-7899.

42 Comments

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  • peacebee Oct 11, 2007

    A lot of really old vegetarians and vegetarian societies would probably disagree that being vegetarian is not healthy. It all depends on doing it right. Saying a vegetarian diet is not healthy is like justifying drinking (alot) because (some) wine is actually healthy for you. A little empty...

  • PikeMom Oct 11, 2007

    Almost an entire month has gone since this took place.Why is it news now? I would imagine most of the beef has already been eaten.

  • notthemama Oct 11, 2007

    no, you don't have to buy a whole cow! I think most sell smaller quantities. Your local extension office should be able to direct you to local farmers. It is sad to see small family farms going away... Thanks for the interest!

  • notthemama Oct 11, 2007

    The Carboro Farmers market on Saturdays has local grown meat and vegatables. That is a good place to start. I think their food must be grown by the people that sell it. And you always have your local farmers market...

  • doodad Oct 11, 2007

    half-brit, I think e-coli bacterial infections effect children because their bodies don't have the natural bacteria to fight e-coli infections. I don't know the medical terms for this, but it seems that young children are effected when adults aren't. Remember the petting zoo episode from the NC State Fair? Children got sick from petting goats. I have been around livestock for years and not washed my hands and have never been effected by e-coli.

  • half-brit Oct 11, 2007

    Why is it that only 2 children contacted e-coli at this cookout? What about the other people who ate hamburgers? There has not been any mention of other episodes. Could it possibly be an isolated incident? Maybe the boys didn't wash their hands? Everytime there is an outbreak of e-coli, it is automaticlly assumed the manufacturers fault. I have seen many incidents where food, either frozen or refrigerated, has been left on the dry goods shelves in stores. Unsuspecting customers may purchase these goods not knowing that they have been put back after long hours of no refrigeration. Just smell one that has been out of refregeration and you can tell it is bad. I am glad to hear though that the boys are recovering

  • shine Oct 11, 2007

    I have never bought any beef from a Walmart - that was any good. The steaks are obviously flash frozen and they turn grey on the grill. I have not had the same experience at Sams what few times I have purchased beef there. I only buy ground beef from a store that I KNOW the market manager.

    Steve Crisps post about this on the #2 page is exactly correct. I have been working with this as well as Avian Flu for the last 3 years..... and the information he gives is exact of why ground beef or ground meat for that matter is subject to an outbreak as opposed to a roast, steak, etc.

  • doodad Oct 11, 2007

    I wonder where the field laborers picking fruits and vegetables wash their hands after using the portajohn in the fields or orchards? Oh, I'm sure they all have hand sanitizers in their pockets.

  • TheWB Oct 11, 2007

    that's why I buy my beef from a local farmer. (and also my vegatables, eggs, etc...) Support your locals or else we'll all have to buy that stuff from the monster mega stores... oh wait, most of you do that now...

    I can't, my local farmer lost his crops, no water!
    On another note, I guess I'm just lucky to be alive. I remember eating meat thawed in the kitchen sink, grilled burgers that were put on the same plate the came out on, and on many occasions they were quite raw too. These outbreaks have always been around and I would venture to say even more prevalent then than now. It is the modern media making all of these cases known that gives the impression they are on the rise. IMO.

  • doodad Oct 11, 2007

    proud bleeding heart, you are silently killing your children.

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